Harold’s Blog: Schools, Roads, a $1000 Check and a Town Zoo?

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through January 23, 2011. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

This week was highlighted by a several intergovernmental events and meetings. Read more

Harold’s Blog: Local Mayors Meet, Town Council/Staff Retreat

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through January 16, 2011.

This was a busy week which was highlighted by a short council meeting and the staff/council retreat. Read more

Harold’s Blog: State of the Town Now and Planning for the Future

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through January 9, 2011.

Wastewater, Chatham County and Red Light Cameras

On Tuesday I met with the town manager to go over current issues. We discussed the Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities, the new Chatham County commissioners, and red light cameras. Read more

Harold’s Blog: Jobs at SAS, Public Hearings, Fact Check on the Web

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through December 26, 2010. SAS Photo by Hal Goodtree.

This week was a week to start slowing down and enjoying the holidays. The big items of the week included the Mayors Association Dinner, an announcement by SAS and the governor, and the taping of the state of the town. Read more

Harold’s Blog: Cell Towers, Development and the NHL

From the blog of  Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through December 19, 2010

This week was the last busy week of the year. The week included a work session and a marathon council meeting. Read more

Harold’s Blog: Involved Citizens, Transit, CPD, Holiday Stuff

From the blog of  Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through December 12, 2010

Citizens Helping Cary

Monday started with a staff member meeting. This staff member is part of the Town of Cary LEAD (Leadership Enhancement and Development) class of 2011. Her project studies the Planning, Engineering, and Parks Departments public involvement process and looks for ways to improve. I talked about many of the experiences I have had with public involvement including some when I was not in office. I believe public involvement is essential in understanding and meeting the needs of our community. Read more

Harold’s Blog: Permit Extensions, Signs, Spirit, Wastewater, Art, Mailbag

From the blog of  Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through November 21, 2010.

There were several meetings this week as my mayoral duties picked up a little.

Permit Extensions Opt Out

Monday I called council members for their questions and concerns about Thursday’s council meeting. Read more

Harold’s Blog: Morrisville, Water, Newly Elected Reps, the Mailbag

From the blog of  Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through November 14, 2010.

This week was another slow week for me as mayor.

Cary and Morrisville

Monday subcommittees of the Morrisville Town Council and the Cary Town Council held their first meeting. This subcommittee adopted the following purpose statement:

“The purpose of the joint Cary-Morrisville subcommittee of the respective town councils is to provide elected officials of the two communities a regular opportunity to openly discuss matters of mutual interest.”

The Cary/Morrisville subcommittee agreed on a web page to hold information about past and future meetings.  The subcommittee agreed to meet quarterly unless circumstances call for more or less meetings. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in Morrisville in the month of February. At that meeting the subcommittee will discuss the following topics:

  • Greenway connectivity
  • Bus service
  • Comparison of development processes
  • Information update on the Highway 54 corridor study

At future meetings the subcommittee will discuss the following topics:

  • At grade crossing studies
  • Hotel/Motel food beverage tax
  • Evans Road extension
  • Parks and Recreation facilities sharing
  • Comparison of legislative authority

Water

On Tuesday I met with the town manager and the Mayor Pro-Tem to discuss ongoing issues. In addition to discussing the Western Wake Wastewater Facility we discussed the potential impacts of hosting elected officials (most recently School Board member Debra Goldman) at town hall.

Wednesday I had a meeting with the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility Advisory Committee. This is the group that makes recommendations for water capacity.

Interestingly, this group hasn’t met for several years and only one Apex staff member was present at the last meeting years ago. This committee includes both mayors, both town managers, and several key staff members.

The purpose of the meeting was to consider two issues related to the future expansion of the Apex/Cary water plant which pulls water from Jordan Lake. The first issue was to approve a consultant for the design of the future expansion. That expansion would take Cary’s daily production from 40 MGD (million gallons a day) to 56 MGD. The design will take about 18 months and would be valid for roughly two years afterward. That means we would need to consider expansion construction in at most three and a half years or redo the design.

The second issue of discussion was an inter-local agreement between Apex and Cary to address mutual aid. That is, if the agreement was approved we would help each other with capacity issues. We both agreed to direct our staffs to move in that direction.

It is important to note that Cary has about five years of capacity left. That depends a lot on conservation. The more we conserve, the later the need for expansion, and the later the cost of expansion. Both Apex and Cary councils are scheduled ratify the committee recommendations at their next regularly scheduled council meetings.

Congrats to newly elected officials

Other duties this week included calling all the newly elected representatives and senators that represent Cary. These include House members Weiss, Dollar, and Stam. I also called House member elect Murray. On the senator side I called Stein and Stevens from Wake County and Hackney and Atwater from Chatham County.

Although I tried various times of the day I was not able to get in touch with a single member. Therefore I left congratulatory messages and invited them to a reception we are planning in January.

The rest of the week was spent writing the December Cary Matters and starting the State of the Town message.

Mail Bag

The email box was full this week. Unfortunately, the homebuilders decided to fill up my email box with a cut and paste message regarding opting out of permit extension act. That would basically give developers extended time on approved projects.

The positive in doing this is that it helps a suffering industry in bad economic times. The negative of doing this is that infrastructure due to the impact of the projects will still have to be built. The delay of projects may mean that there is greater impact. If that greater impact is not paid for by the development that created it then the level of service drops or the citizens pay the difference.

Here was the message I received dozens of times from developer interests:

Dear Councilor,

By opting out of the permit extension act, you will simply be placing projects already approved at further risk.  Rather than spurring economic development and expanding the tax base, the Council will be pushing potentially viable projects to the brink of collapse.  The ongoing economic crisis simply makes obtaining financing extremely difficult, consequently stretching out project timelines.

As we continue to fight our way to economic recovery, it is critical that elected officials do all they can do to stimulate new economic development and expand tax base. Forcing previously approved projects to retool and seek new approvals will only impair your municipality’s tax base and economic development efforts. More importantly, based on the recent election, it is clear that citizens want elected officials to take all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure that our communities get back on stable economic footing as soon as possible. The General Assembly passed this legislation based on need, and clearly the need is still present.

Please reject the opt-out provision.

My Soapbox – Filling up our email boxes with a cut and paste message is not a good strategy. I received and understood the message the first time it was sent to me and the additional multiple messages just made it difficult to respond to citizens who had issues that needed addressing in a timely manner. So if the strategy was to prevent me from responding to citizens in a timely manner it succeeded! End Soapbox

Anyway, this decision will be a balancing act for council members. I am sure it will be a very difficult decision for some and others it will be straight forward.

Regarding other emails, I also received several supporting the opting out of the permit extension (these were not cut and paste). Other emails included a complaint about the school board, complaints about the Weldon Ridge Road alignment, a request to support Tryon Place, a complaint about me not communicating to Cary citizens (REALLY???), a complaint about Park West in Morrisville, a request to apply for a grant, and complaints about no parking signs in Carpenter Village.

Next week the pace will pick up for me with highlights including a Mayors Association meeting, a work session on the sign ordinance, and a council meeting.

Well that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 21st. Please feel free to email me with a comment.

Personal comments please send to augustanat@mindspring.com.
All Town of Cary business – please email me at Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org

Photo of Jordan Lake by Hal Goodtree